From seed to store: Creating a sustainable food system
Posted in GreenBiz
April 6, 2022

From seed to store: Creating a sustainable food system

This article is sponsored by Frito-Lay.

At Frito-Lay North America, we stand on a commitment to create growth and value while inspiring positive change for the planet and people. As Earth Day approaches, we are reminded of the opportunity we have as an organization to advance technology throughout our supply chain and reduce environmental impacts as we progress towards creating a more sustainable food system.

Sustainable farming: Starting at the source

The journey to creating a sustainable food system begins not in the store, but from the soil where seeds grow into harvested crops. Our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system begins by implementing positive changes at the farm level. Products consumers know and love, such as Lay’s and Fritos, begin their journey on farms where, through Frito-Lay’s strong commitment to sustainable farming practices, 100 percent of the potatoes and corn are sustainably sourced. 

Within these farms, every effort is taken to implement technologies to conserve water. We have piloted new irrigation solutions and leveraged regenerative farming practices to reduce water consumption by replacing existing sprayers and nozzles with lower water flow devices, saving millions of gallons of water annually. Water conservation from the farm to our facilities is essential in achieving our goal of becoming net water positive in high-risk watersheds by 2030. 

From the farm to facilities: Lowering our facilities’ footprint to create a positive value chain 

We work to create a positive value chain through reduction and replenishment activities in and around our manufacturing facilities. As an example, Frito-Lay has achieved 100 percent renewable electricity for all U.S. plants, offices and distribution centers, with 100 percent of Frito-Lay manufacturing sites using LED lighting. Combined, these efforts reduced emissions by nearly half a million metric tons. 

To increase water conservation initiatives, Frito-Lay introduced new methods of providing water to lubricate potato slicing, and thereafter implemented this practice across multiple facilities. We also have embraced an opportunity to replenish 56 million gallons of water annually by helping restore wetlands at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. This opportunity, a first for the organization, was made possible through a partnership with Ducks Unlimited, where we completed our East Beer Creek project in California’s San Joaquin Valley watershed. 

By the end of 2022, Frito-Lay’s investment in the California Wildfire Restoration project will result in more than a quarter million trees planted, nearly 300 acres reforested and 138 million gallons annual water replenishment. 

From the facility to the shelves: Moving products more responsibly

With a commitment to move products more sustainably and achieve Net-Zero emissions by 2040, our fleet will be decarbonized nationwide through the use of renewable compressed natural gas and other new zero- and near-zero emission trucks. The most significant step in this makeover is occurring in Modesto, California, home to one of our largest facilities in North America. The project, undertaken in partnership with California Climate Investments, will replace all diesel-powered freight equipment with zero and near-zero emission technologies. To date, the Modesto site’s fleet absolute GHG emissions have been reduced by more than half (53 percent), or nearly 3,000 metric tons of absolute GHG emissions annually, as well as lowering fleet diesel usage by 78 percent.

Making positive choices to affect our future and our planet

Packaging is key to our sustainability agenda. Across Frito-Lay, our cardboard cartons are reused nearly five times — the equivalent of about 2.2 million trees each year — enough to provide oxygen for 8.8 million people. This is one of many ways we are continuously looking to scale new business models that require little or no single-use packaging. 

We have a goal of designing 100 percent of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025. The 2021 launch of Off The Eaten Path’s (OTEP) new industrially compostable bag was not only a step toward this goal, but a gateway to more sustainable packaging launches. This year, we will make our debut at Coachella, with Lay’s Classic, Lay’s BBQ, Lay’s Limon, Doritos Nacho Cheese and Cheetos Flamin’ Hot being made available in 100 percent commercially compostable packaging on the Coachella campgrounds. As with Off The Eaten Path, these bags are made from 85 percent renewable plant materials. The raw-material production for these films produces about 60 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than traditional snack bags.

When we think about future success, operating in a sustainable manner is a key priority. As a company with a large footprint, we recognize the impact we have on the planet, and will continue to evolve our food products to ensure is a positive and lasting one. 

April 6, 2022 at 06:20PM

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